Civil Service: training and development

How civil servants can improve their capability and skills, including learning and development, the Fast Stream and professional networks.

Building skills and competencies

As part of Civil Service Reform, the government aims to ensure that all civil servants:

  • have the tools and skills they need to provide public services more effectively
  • can be deployed across departments

‘Meeting the challenge of change: a capabilities plan for the Civil Service’ outlines plans to improve skills and performance across the Civil Service.

The capability plan includes a strategy for building individuals’ skills and competencies, and it examines how the Civil Service can use structures and management processes to harness these skills.

For example:

  • all civil servants are entitled to 5 days of learning and development each year, targeted to help them perform better in their work
  • there is a wide range of opportunities such as job shadowing and on-the-job learning, as well as formal training courses

The plan also encourages more secondments into (and from) the private and voluntary sectors.

Competencies are the skills, knowledge and behaviours that lead to successful performance. The Civil Service Competency Framework sets out how civil servants should work.

Learning and development

Civil Service Learning provides e-learning, online resources and classroom courses to support your Civil Service career.

Register with Civil Service Learning to find out more about the opportunities available.

Join a professional network

There are currently 25 professional networks, each led by a head of profession:

In most cases membership is open to anyone working in government departments, agencies or non-departmental public bodies. Some professions also permit membership to professionals outside of government, such as the wider public sector.

What professions offer

In general, the professional networks:

  • provide a governance structure
  • raise standards
  • provide career development opportunities
  • encourage collaboration

Join the Fast Stream

There are potential candidates for the Fast Stream throughout the Civil Service an we encourage them to apply.

You’ll apply alongside, and at the same time as, external candidates. The selection process is exactly the same, except that you don’t need any academic qualification to be eligible.

The competition is open to serving civil servants at Grade HEO (or equivalent) and below, as long as they were recruited by a process of fair and open competition. So, for instance, if you are on a temporary contract you may apply provided that the contract was awarded as the result of a competitive process, and provided that your contract finishes after the Fast Stream assessment process finishes. Casual or agency staff, or those on secondment from outside the Civil Service, are likely to be ineligible. You should have passed your probation period by time of applying. Individuals on poor performance or disciplinary measures are not eligible to apply.

If you don’t have a degree you’ll only be able to apply for these options:

  • central departments
  • commercial
  • digital and technology
  • finance

Fast Stream application process

There is no longer a separate in-service entry route for the Fast Stream. You must apply through the externally advertised competition and go through the same processes and assessments as external applicants.

Please be aware that if you’re successful in your application you’ll be issued a new contract and you might not remain in your current department.

Find out more and apply to join the fast stream